CA-125 Results Went Up: Should I be concerned?

Posted by stparker54 @stparker54, Aug 26, 2020

The results of my CA-125 tumor marker test increased from 16.8 to 20.3. This is the fourth time I’ve had a tumor marker test and it’s the first time there was an increase in the results. How concerned should I be?

Oh @stparker54, I can imagine you're worried. We were all celebratory as your CA 125 levels were dropping. It's true that a decreasing CA 125 level often indicates that the cancer is responding to treatment. A rising CA 125 level may indicate a return or continued growth of the cancer. Please focus on the word "MAY."

The test may be an anomaly and will need to be confirmed and then further investigated with additional testing. I know you were having issues with platelet counts and chemo related delays. This may be part of that. If it is the cancer rearing its ugly head, CA 125 is the right tool to find it this early.

I'm bringing in @starko @naturegirl5 @jeanadair123 @pbprice and @becsbuddy to surround you with support and a gentle group embrace. StParker, when are you scheduled for further tests or a consult?

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My next chemo treatment is in about three weeks. My onc does a CA-125 test then. Should I have a CA-125 test done before that?

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@stparker54

My next chemo treatment is in about three weeks. My onc does a CA-125 test then. Should I have a CA-125 test done before that?

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stparker54:I don't think your very slight increase in CA125 should be of concern as you are still within the "normal " range, May I suggest that you ask for a HE4,S test as well. My oncologist believes this may be a better indicator of a tumor recurrence. After being free of cancer for over a year, I found my HE4,S was gradually rising, although CA125 remained normal. My oncologist put me on daily metformin and HE4,S has fallen within a normal range. I also get blood drawn for the tests every two weeks.

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starko: I spoke to my gynecology oncologist on Monday, and she pretty much confirmed what you said — that a 4-point rise in my CA-125 results wasn't much to worry about. She said that women with ovarian/uterine cancer tend to reach different "floor" CA-125 ranges. Some women will fall within the 5-10 range as their floor; others will have a floor of 10-15, while others tend to be in the 15-20 range. My onc thinks I will fall into the latter range and that my CA-125 results will not drop any further than 15-20. She said this was fine, just so my results don't exceed 35. I will look into the HE4,S test the next time I go for chemo (Sept. 14).

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@stparker54

starko: I spoke to my gynecology oncologist on Monday, and she pretty much confirmed what you said — that a 4-point rise in my CA-125 results wasn't much to worry about. She said that women with ovarian/uterine cancer tend to reach different "floor" CA-125 ranges. Some women will fall within the 5-10 range as their floor; others will have a floor of 10-15, while others tend to be in the 15-20 range. My onc thinks I will fall into the latter range and that my CA-125 results will not drop any further than 15-20. She said this was fine, just so my results don't exceed 35. I will look into the HE4,S test the next time I go for chemo (Sept. 14).

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Hi. Just noticed your latest text and want to report on my situation. After my very gradual escalation (1.5 yrs after the end of chemo) of bothCA125 and HE4,s, after chemo, surgeries,etc.

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@starko

Hi. Just noticed your latest text and want to report on my situation. After my very gradual escalation (1.5 yrs after the end of chemo) of bothCA125 and HE4,s, after chemo, surgeries,etc.

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Ooops! Sorry!
My ct scan showed no malnormalcy, even with the rising cancer markers. A local neurologist suggested an MRI, which showed a cancerous mass indicating my ovarian cancer had expanded to my brain, lower Cellebellium. Surgery immediately followed and a majority of the mass was removed. Another MRI indicated a shrinkage of the mass and both cancer markers,CA125 and HE4,s were now in the average range.
What alerted me to the rising cancer markers was my Mayo oncologist who had previously
said, “If you see a rise in either of these, no matter how small and if there is a steady rise 3-4 times, look for a reoccurrence of the cancer” .
I have since had many MRIs, Pt/Ct scans, plus numerous other tests. I will begin radiation next week to take of the slivers of cancer that were left behind , as my doctor was concerned about cutting into my brain and causing more problems.

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@starko

Ooops! Sorry!
My ct scan showed no malnormalcy, even with the rising cancer markers. A local neurologist suggested an MRI, which showed a cancerous mass indicating my ovarian cancer had expanded to my brain, lower Cellebellium. Surgery immediately followed and a majority of the mass was removed. Another MRI indicated a shrinkage of the mass and both cancer markers,CA125 and HE4,s were now in the average range.
What alerted me to the rising cancer markers was my Mayo oncologist who had previously
said, “If you see a rise in either of these, no matter how small and if there is a steady rise 3-4 times, look for a reoccurrence of the cancer” .
I have since had many MRIs, Pt/Ct scans, plus numerous other tests. I will begin radiation next week to take of the slivers of cancer that were left behind , as my doctor was concerned about cutting into my brain and causing more problems.

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Good news

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@starko

Ooops! Sorry!
My ct scan showed no malnormalcy, even with the rising cancer markers. A local neurologist suggested an MRI, which showed a cancerous mass indicating my ovarian cancer had expanded to my brain, lower Cellebellium. Surgery immediately followed and a majority of the mass was removed. Another MRI indicated a shrinkage of the mass and both cancer markers,CA125 and HE4,s were now in the average range.
What alerted me to the rising cancer markers was my Mayo oncologist who had previously
said, “If you see a rise in either of these, no matter how small and if there is a steady rise 3-4 times, look for a reoccurrence of the cancer” .
I have since had many MRIs, Pt/Ct scans, plus numerous other tests. I will begin radiation next week to take of the slivers of cancer that were left behind , as my doctor was concerned about cutting into my brain and causing more problems.

Jump to this post

Sounds as though you’ve managed this well with the help of your doctors. Glad to hear the good news.

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